It all started with a Los Angeles Times article about tipis in the desert. A night in a tipi in Death Valley? Why not! We journeyed west for a short, five-hour drive from L.A. to China Ranch, a date farm and hidden oasis outside of Death Valley National Park, where we stayed for a night in one of Cynthia’s tipis.
When we checked in Cynthia gave us driving directions to our tipi—three miles north to a winding, unpaved road until we reached a canyon. Within this canyon we would find an oasis and, after passing the oasis and making a right turn, we would find the tipi. I chuckled when she said ‘oasis’ because I didn’t believe oases really existed. Boy was I wrong!
When we arrived we couldn’t believe how remote and secluded we were from the rest of the world. Here we had this huge tipi all to ourselves, and no one around for miles. We quickly unpacked and began walking around with our mouths wide open! The way the light came through the Amargosa Canyon was so beautiful and there, in the middle of nowhere, was a tree growing from the lush ground. In that moment we knew we were in paradise!
We awoke early the next morning to catch the sunrise and attempt to escape the midday heat (up to 130° during the summer!). Our first stop as we headed north was Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the country. From here we headed for the Natural Bridge hike before ending our day at the Mesquite Sand Dunes as the sun dipped behind the mountains. Death Valley is a great place to visit in early spring and not any later. It’s a wonderful weekend trip to get away from the city but make sure to bring plenty of water and sun block.
2001 Old Spanish Trail Highway
Tecopa, CA 92389
See the Death Valley Chamber of Commerce website for helpful hints and planning tips.
Begin your trip with a quick stop at China Ranch.
Badwater Basin is a must-see when visiting Death Valley. Just be sure to bring plenty of water!
End the day at Stovepipe Wells Sand Dunes for a picturesque sunset and mountain view.
If not photographing weddings in Southern California, you can find Ashley road tripping and backpacking across the Great Northern Pacific and small little villages all over the world.